Special Opportunity Hunts

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC's) special-opportunity hunt applications are ready and available at FWC offices. Applications also are available on-line at http://wld.fwc.state.fl.us/hunting/pdf/spec-op-application.pdf

The Special-Opportunity Hunt Program offers sportsmen opportunities to hunt trophy animals in areas where game is plentiful and people are sparse. Special-opportunity hunts are open to anyone who invests $5 in an application and gets drawn in a random selection process. Once drawn, sportsmen must pay a fee from $50-$175 (depending on the WMA and the type of hunt) for special-opportunity hunt permits.

Hunters can submit as many special-opportunity applications as they want, as long as they include the non-refundable $5 fee for each person on each application. The deadline for sending in applications is June 17. Applications must arrive at the FWC's Bureau of Licensing and Permitting office by the deadline, and they have to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service or some other licensed delivery service. "The FWC won't accept hand-delivered applications," quota hunt coordinator Eddie White said.

James E. Stovall, from Lakeland, took home a state-record 24-point buck after his special-opportunity archery hunt on the Green Swamp West Unit Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in 1999.

"This area has more real trophy deer than any (other) area in the state," Stovall said.

The Green Swamp West Unit is one of six special-opportunity hunt sites, and all of them draw high praise from participants.

In a survey of 2001 participants, Triple N Ranch WMA hunter Dave Emerson wrote: "Keep these hunts going. It was my best hunting experience ever."

Les Miller, who hunted Lake Panasoffkee WMA, wrote: "I have only experienced hunting quality of this type on private land, and this is as good as it gets. Great Work!"

For more information about special-opportunity hunts, interested sportsmen can contact the FWC's Quota Hunt Office at (850) 488-8573 or by mail at 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600.